Category Archives: bike

Thus Climbed Zarathustra


From our good friend Stephen, the organizer of this and previous versions:

An urban cyclocross ride/race through the Eastside of Los Angeles where participants pedal to stairways, portage their bike and climb ‘em, before heading to the next one. It’s fun, challenging (but do-able) and eye-opening: you’ll probably see parts of LA you haven’t. And if you don’t want to race, no problem. During the inaugural event a few folks stopped at a garage sale and picked up a messenger bag for cheap!

Fast folks should finish in 60 to 75 minutes and more leisurely riders can complete it in about 90 minutes or so. I think. Haven’t nailed down the course yet.

This is a Swarm! event.
The name? The first event was held on Nietzsche’s b-day.
The flier? Courtesy of Chris. He rules.

On the facebook at bit.ly/thusclimbed

History:
2008
2006

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Filed under bike, city, race, run

Top of Amethyst rd in El Sereno

Scoping out the route for Feel My Legs Im a Racer.

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Filed under bike, city

Fragility and Fun

Every once in awhile I think about all of the stupid shit I did as a teenager-wait, even before that considering I had two concussions from bikes before I was 8- and am thankful to have a functioning body. My friend Brad sent this clip and said, ‘this made me think of you.’

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=6198377&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=&fullscreen=1
Into the Void – Johnny Devlin from Shadow Conspiracy.

It has been a long time since doing any of that on a bike came naturally or with ease. And I’m talking the ‘easier’ stuff, none of this 180-ing into rails and then 180-ing out that I’ve never been able to do. Bikes. Such a medium. Meanwhile though, I fall off of my road bike doing wheelies. So dumb because I actually hurt myself. Had my hands on the brakes, was three pedals in and WHAM! I’m on my ass. Thud. I thought I broke my tailbone. It still hurts ten days later and I have been beating myself up over it. How could I be so dumb? Why do I do these things? How did I let myself fall?

But I’m over that. If I start self-restricting risk and danger it would require an alteration of my entire life. Every day I’m on my bike is a risk. Whether I’m cruising along on the Eurotour or splitting lanes at 20 MPH on my track bike. If I didn’t mountain bike and jump stuff I would go insane. I self-reflected on this in my Dan Cortese vs Noam Chomsky post last summer.

Those who take less risk have said, ‘Just stop doing what’s dangerous then you don’t have to worry.’ What’s the exchange for that life and is it worth it? So much is dangerous. ‘How do you think we can get up there?’ comes up far too often. The blizzard on the East Coast reminds me of high school where we drove around 6 deep in an SUV with shovels and ladders finding our way onto buildings to jump off into snow piles. The time I jumped off a three-story building over a road and that feeling still gives me chills…

I am scared to death (which is a funny statement right?) of being seriously injured or killed. Not a day goes by where I don’t take a deep breath and think, ‘Wow, that could have killed me’. Not long after I watched this video and fell I heard the news that an ultra-cyclist named Bruce Taylor died from his injuries in a bicycle crash here in Southern California. We’ve done the same events. I’ve ridden with him. He was on a bike path. Safe, right?

Weighing risk is the basis of public health. We all do it. But knowing what is in us and how we want to act when not restricted is fundamental in understanding what ‘danger’ is and how we use it and feel it. I’m watching this (on mute with Jay-Z playing: better):

http://www.youtube.com/v/hmDZUY5kGdw&hl=en_US&fs=1&

and thinking about the summer while nursing my injury…which really is pretty minor so why worry? Is death and injury a reminder of our fragility and a sign to live more or a warning to take it easy? I’m pretty sure I know the answer and I have the French to thank for articulating it:

We want nothing of a world
in which the certainty of not dying from hunger
comes in exchange for the risk of dying from boredom.

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Filed under bike, bmx

Worlds colide on the reg

New fork for the soon-to-be new 29er picked up with the trusty (and
delightfully squeeky) Ross Eurotour.
'What a life' indeed.

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Filed under bike, city, off-road

Bike Far Eliminate the Car

Wanted to let everyone know that bikeswarm.org is being updated regularly by a handful of authors. Can’t wait for the photos from tandem cyclocross!

My friend Enci just wrote mini-dissertation called The Case Against Bike Paths. Wow. I use them regularly, but only when riding ‘road’ when I’m heading to the coast. For commuter purposes they are not very useful, at least here in Los Angeles. Incidentally I came across this post while on the Twitter page for the first time. I said I drew the line just before Twitter, but a more tech savy Swarm! member set up the Swarm! Twitter account. Follow us?

Next up the ubiquitous Stephen Box lays out what exactly a good bike plan should be: LA’s ‘Best’ Bike Plan Bringing Home the Bacon. Thank you both for making the city a better place for us all.

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Filed under bike, city, political

Midnight Express ride

This past Saturday I did not ride the Mulholland Challenge as I had planned. Well, as I had hoped, but did not plan, therefore no ride. I can’t believe it is mid-April already!
I love that ride and the beautiful course. I rode it in 2007 and it remains firmly planted in my memory as the ride that showed me the potential I have on a road bike. In other words, I thought past riding events with only the goal of finishing them. Pushing myself for several hours (7 to be exact) was novel and surprisingly fun. This year I just didn’t have the miles in to make it worthwhile. Same with last year. Then I ran the checkpoint at the top of Decker Canyon where a SAG’ed rider took this sticker, literally.

Instead some friends and I rode the Midnight Express benefit ride for the Los Angeles Bicycle Coalition. Meeting at midnight at Union Station, the ride travels along the Arroyo-Seco to the Angeles Crest highway. I love this route and have always wanted to ride it at night (someone even described this ride as ‘pretty much designed for you’, which I do not disagree with…). From Clear Creek we descended Angeles Forest highway for a shortwhile before beginning the climb up to Mill Creek summit (4910ft). This section has two distinct memories for me. One is when Morgan rode back from the Tour of Two Forests double (12 hrs) in Santa Clarita with Megan, Max and I behind as a practice run for the 508. The other is when I rode 60 miles along this route to a 32-mile road race where I then had my ass handed to me.

Sunday morning (~2am) as I descended toward the ‘bridge of awesomeness’ in the dark and cold (~35 degrees) with Michael, I was thinking about how smart Alex was for having tyvex envelopes for us to slip under our jerseys and how I was towing the line, albeit it knowlingly, of comfort and warmth in only a jersey, vest and arm warmers, when I flatted. Ever think, ‘Damn I’m so cold but as long as I keep moving I’ll stay warm?’ or ‘My hands are so cold I can barely shift gears’? So there we were trying to fix my flat with shaking arms and stubby fingers. Miserable? A little. But I’m glad I had the experience so I can draw on it when I am in worse situations. Because really, it wasn’t THAT bad.

A little while later we pedaled over the summit and had one final freezing descent to the Acton train station to wrap up the 50 miles. A few riders who had left early were huddled under some heat lamp-like lights (!?) and we all waited for breakfast. It was worth it. Thanks to the influence of Swarm! volunteers there were vegan pancakes, sausages and cinamon buns. Topped off with hot coffee. Yum. The plan was for the riders to get on the 7am metrolink train to Union Station. But on a beautiful morning, in the mountains, already dressed for cycling, why not ride back?

Michael and I took our time and cruised back up and over the two passes before each heading our respective ways. I got in a quick nap before we had people over at our new place for a chill Sunday potluck. Budge has some photos up here.

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Filed under bike, road, vegan

I’ve been thinking more and more about the parallel or analogy that bikes and bike riding are for my life.
It’s obvious that 1) I can’t make up my mind about much 2) My interest comes and goes in huge waves 3) I don’t excel at anything, but do quite a lot to make up for it 4) I don’t nurture relationships as much as I could (rust on the stem bolts on my Seven? What am I thinking?) 5) I always want to do slightly more than I’m willing or able to put effort into.

Here are some going-ons:

My friend Aidan, who crewed for me when I raced Norseman in 2007, is racing the Iditarod Trail Invitational . 350 miles, unsupported, across Alaska in the winter. Starts this Sunday.


Not sure what to add about this. Have fun?

Next weekend here in Los Angeles is the Bike Summit, Saturday 9am to 4pm. I had not heard much about it and was hesitant to get involved (I never really did), but looks like a great day of workshops and speakers. The preceding Friday, the 6th, I am part of the Root Down ride, a bike tour through the city stopping at historical points in LA bike history from 1999-2009.

I’m going to be talking about More Than Transportation, a bike weekend event with workshops, rides, races, parties, etc that happened in 2002, 2004, 2005 (part of Bike Summer) and 2006. I wanted there to be a stop about the time in 2004 that Critical Mass rode through three grocery stores to support the striking Safeway workers, but it is not going to happen. That night was amazing.

Speaking of protests and political activism, I’ve been painfully keeping up with Green is the New Red, a site that “focuses on how fear of “terrorism” is being exploited to push a political and corporate agenda.” Will articulates how the “T-word” is being used to silent legal environmental protest (see the 5 step process). It’s saddening to read what has been happening, but the existence of this site and the material they are putting together is helping to fight it. Check it out, it’s worth your time. And to all of you mainstream environmental groups who think this does not pertain to you, I have this poem:

“In Germany, they came first for the Communists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist; And then they came for the trade unionists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist; And then they came for the Jews, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew; And then they came for me . . . And by that time there was no one left to speak up.”

And I realized that I have not reported on our 24-hour race in Tucson, which was two weeks ago now. Oops. It was great fun. Riding, hanging out, eating, sleeping, chilling, making hot drinks, riding, repeat. I’ll try to get more together for that.

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Filed under bike, political, vegan